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Action, Criticism & Theory for Music Education

Page 13 of 28


importance of incorporating other cultural elements into teaching music is acknowledged, it should be stressed that the aim of any integration with other areas of study must be to enhance students’ interest in learning music, and to provide variety in the teaching of it. The integrity of music as its own cultural contribution should be preserved and further strengthened as a result of any integration.

In a special issue of the Music Educators’ Journal (Wiggins, 2001), several writers highlight different aspects of the implementation of integrated/interdisciplinary programmes. Burton (2001) alerts readers to the problem of unsystematic sampling of knowledge, and the loss of territorial integrity in the implementation of integrated programmes. Ellis and Fouts (2001) also warn that there are both benefits and drawbacks in integration and that careful consideration is necessary in practice. Barrett (2001) proposes facilitating the integration of different disciplines from different perspectives of contextual consideration in order to uphold the integrity of music. In relation to this proposal, it should be understood that, as an art, music has value and integrity that stands alone in its own form, and that the integration of different disciplines is a means of teaching music effectively rather than an end in itself. Synder (2001) thus asserts the importance of considering the curricular goals of music when developing integrated programmes. Wiggins (2001) concludes that the key to developing a sound, integrated programme is to make sure that there is a strong, valid, concept-based music curriculum. Barrett, McCoy, and Veblen (1997) also affirm that an effective music programme should be interdisciplinary because “musical understanding draws upon many forms of knowing and understanding (p. 20).” Furthermore, the intimate relationship between music and culture should be highlighted in the implementation of any kind of interdisciplinary programme.

In building a sound, integrated programme, music teachers have to build a collaborative culture with teachers of other subjects in order to establish effective approaches for enhancing students’ understanding of music and its cultural context. In

return, teachers of these subjects can benefit from such collaborations through the more varied teaching approaches that can result. Besides collaborating with teachers

of other disciplines, music teachers also

need to upgrade their knowledge and

Leung, C. (2004). Building a New Music Curriculum: A Multi-faceted approach. Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education. Vol.3, #2 (July 2004). http://act.maydaygroup.org/articles/Leung3_2.pdf

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